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Britain's leading woman rider, Nicole Cooke, will not now be joining the new European-based T-Mobile squad as had previously been announced by the German team. World championship runner-up Cooke, who rode this year with the Italian Safi Pasta team, had been announced as one of T-Mobile's leaders alongside 2004 world champion Judith Arndt.
"We have several talented athletes on board and as sometimes happens, we were not able to align Nicole's personal goals with those of the team," said team manager Andrzej Bek. "We wish Nicole the very best in her future racing career."
Cooke, who has made the Commonwealth Games road race in Melbourne her first target of next season, is reported to be in negotiations with interested teams and is expected to make an announcement in the near future.
In the meantime, T-Mobile have continued their recruitment by bringing on board another group of strong riders. Double French champion Magali Le Floc'h adds to the international aspect of the team, and she is also joined by American T-Mobile team member Kimberly Baldwin, Canadian Lyne Bessette and promising 19-year-old Rebecca Much, who holds joint US and German nationality.
The North American trio will join the rest of the confirmed roster at the first team get-together, scheduled for Munich in Germany on December 3-4. The final roster will be announced at a later date and presented to the public during the course of the official team presentation at Club Robinson in Majorca on January 14.
- T-Mobile team leader Jan Ullrich looks almost certain to ride the Giro d'Italia as part of his preparation for the Tour de France. Speaking to the press in Vienna earlier this week, Ullrich said "I won't be riding the Giro to try and win outright, but as preparation for the Tour de France. But if I have the legs, I will show myself on one or two stages."
The T-Mobile captain has been in training since early November, earlier than other years. "I am doing two hours on the bike, spending time in the weight rooms and I am doing stretches. In terms of quality, maybe I will up the ante soon, but in terms of quantity I am already at the limit."
Ullrich is due to leave for South Africa on Monday for a three-week training camp with six of his T-Mobile team-mates.
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